Continuing this enjoyable ramble-fest (for me at least!), today we’re on to Year Three of ChipWIN comp story-time! If this is your first read in the series, feel free to check out parts 1 and 2 and then continue after the break.
Sup y’all? =) President Hoodie back again with another of my Hoodie Highlights interviews! Due to crazy life happenings (i.e. getting MARRIED <3 ), it’s been a few months since I’ve had the time to manage one of these enjoyable talks. And what better way to bring the feature back than with a follow-up chat with my good snarky Brit friend & initial Hoodie Highlights focus, Andrew Kilpatrick? Read along as we talk all retrospective-like, as Kilpatrick brings his 5+ years of awesome chiptune contributions to a close. Enjoy!
Sup y’all? =) Prez Hoodie here. I feel like today’s a good day as any to debut my brand spankin’ new interview column, ‘Hoodie Highlights‘! As much as I’ve enjoyed writing my beer and chip column the last several months (which I do plan to continue as I find the time), a big part of what keeps me involved in the world of chip is my direct, personal relationships with artists & fans in and among it. I’m a fairly personable guy, it’s true! (provided you can overlook the occasion dickbutts…). And that lends itself to interviewing folk! Mostly, though, I enjoy it, and think that just maybe y’all might too!
On that note, let’s get on with this first interview. Featuring none other than the snarky Brit that everyone hates to love (but generally does anyway), Andrew Kilpatrick!!
Brandon L Hood (Hoodie): So we’ve “known” each other for, what? Around a year now? In that period you’ve pretty much (in my mind) gone from beiing “that snarky Brit on cm.o who did that cool cover of the Wintersun track” to “that snarky Brit who does ALL THE THINGS”. hahaha
Andrew Kilpatrick (AK) – haha, yeah, I think it’s like a (torturous) year and a half now? It’s been too long (￣□￣) . Originally it was just Pxl-Bot but then I flew the coop to set up TWG before rolling back and working on both. Then WeeklyTreats and eventually NTWRK came out of what we viewed as holes in the scene which could be doing with filling by dedicated peeps. and voila, all the things.
Hoodie – That’s… a *LOT* of projects. And that admission is coming from ME. haha I realize it’s a bit of one thing leading to another, but why so many things? Or rather, why so much involvement in and around the chiptune/chipmusic world?
AK– I can’t remember how I actually got into chip to begin with. I think it was something to do with little-scale links on a free album blog site. Anyway, eventually I got two releases for the oldie label Betamod together. Around then Alex Kelly and I were super pals at college, and I told him about it all and it turned out he was interested in chip too. Eventually he floated the idea of doing a label and about 2 months later we launched Pxl-Bot! After about six months of Pxl-Bot, often releasing between 2 and 3 times a WEEK, I was exhausted. I eventually left the label in the hands of Alex and went off to figure out what I wanted to do. TWG came out of this, out of a want to start blogging along with a set of releases which were more eclectic, as with Pxl-Bot in the start we were both a bit young and dumb and just released shit for the hell of it, like MONODEER’s debut alongside some piece of shit 1-day famitracker EP I spat out. Young and dumb.
Anyway, TWG started doing releases, I then began blogging in what I guess is now my trademark ‘blunt fairness’ style and the mission statement of TWG slowly became tied to experimentalism in chip.
I came up with the idea of WeeklyTreats in a shower…
Hoodie – Best ideas ALWAYS happen in the shower.
AK – …phoned Alex Kelly, and then about 3 hours later we were in a Subway fleshing out what is now WeeklyTreats 2013. With artists, we wanted a mix of the ‘big guys’ we’d not worked with before, ‘smaller guys’ we thought were talented and a bunch of people from the TWG/Pxl-Bot rosters (in fact WeeklyTreats often opened doors to label releases!).
And then NTWRK is us being older and dumb I guess. realizing that these three ideas were disparate enough we decided to give them a ‘conglomerate’ name. NTWRK isn’t a fusion of the three at all, really it’s a ‘name tag’ to Alex and I as a production/curating team, and an arm of promotion that links the three for better synergy. The mixes are as promo for people from the three projects and beyond AND something to prepare people for NTWRK’s end goal; live shows.
Hoodie – Yeah, I see that now (regarding NTWRK). And it makes sense! Almost a way to “brand” the collective of projects so to speak.
More or less, this.
AK – Ps Aviel Brown says hi.
Hoodie – Hi Aviel!!
You referenced something you’ve become a bit infamous for via your album reviews & Volume 2 judging: as you said it, your trademark “blunt fairness” style. It’s stirred up some flak here and there, sure, but all in all I think most folk have appreciated the honesty. I know I have!
AK– I’ve been ‘blessed’ with a headstrong belief that my opinions matter or are in some way objectively ‘right’. They aren’t, obviously, but when it comes to being critical in my opinion there is absolutely no room for compromise, or to consider any work-relationship context when looking at another’s stuff. TWG was never meant to be a PR blog, it’s a critical blog through and through because that’s the type of journalism I want to do, and what I’ve learnt from writing on TWG has been invaluable to me from a career’s point. Not only that, but it’s that type of critical outlook that actually benefits the artist; if you’re only being told you’re great, you aren’t going to move forward as fast as when someone is telling you what’s wrong, and I’ve had many people come to me privately after I’ve reviewed and panned their release thanking me. As long as you’re not being critical as a means to get personal, I think there should be far more of it going on in the scene.
Hoodie – Honestly, from what I’ve observed the artist responses from some of the more “harsh” reviews seemed to be more appreciative than even those of the positive reviews! I think most folk do appreciate the constructive criticism when it’s delivered in such a manner: straightforwardly and without bias.
Outside of that, it *IS* ultimately just one man’s opinion after all. Grain of salt and all that jazz. ;)
AK – ᕙ(⇀‸↼‶)ᕗ yh but 1 well boss man yo
Hoodie– ｡◕ ‿ ◕｡
Regarding NTWRK transitioning to it’s end goal of live shows, anything to report on that yet?
AK– Yes! We’re sponsoring a gig in Southampton in the end of June! More info on that will be around soon. Also we’re planning a very special opening to the NTWRK live shows hopefully for the end of this year!!
Hoodie – Now THAT’s exciting! And I knew it was only a matter of time until y’all started getting involved live. haha It’s a fairly different creature, but a real blast to be involved in. Particularly to me, since live chiptune is what really pulled me in anyway.
AK– Yeah, it’s a fucking travesty it’s taken this long for us to knuckle down and go for it. Super huge big ups to Connor Fowler who asked us to help and sponsor the Southampton gig, as without him I don’t think things would be moving as fast as they are. I mean, at this point we have contacts from 3 years of Pxl-Bot, 2 years of TWG and the countless WeeklyTreats too, it seemed like such a waste not to exploit those in a live setting!
Hoodie– I can relate with that 100%. It’s one thing to rock some bombass projects (…did I really just say “bombass”…?) on the intertoobs like a BAMF, yet completely different to bring it IRL. And rather intimidating! Although I’ve found the transition isn’t quite as jarring as you might think, especially when you have other BAMFs to work with for the live shows. That makes *ALL* the difference in the world. And it looks like that’s the case for y’all too!
So best of luck pulling that off, and growing that venture into the next big thing! Will be yet *ONE MORE THING* for me to jump across the pond for. ;)
AK– oh yay. <3
Hoodie– Seriously, teleporation nodes, man. I NEEDS ‘EM.
AK – I want a jet so I can fly to all the gigs.
Hoodie– I suppose owning a jet w/limitless fuel would also suffice. :3
Or a dragon. Maybe Kubbi could lend us a couple? Pretty sure they have those in Norway.
AK– They’re not quite as practical though. Where do you park a dragon even? Can you valet a dragon?
Hoodie– Hmm… Clearly, you’ve thought this through a bit better than me.
AK– You don’t get 4 projects on swole without some overthinkin’ yo.
Also, MAGFest 13? You’re coming, right? COMMIT TO IT. RIGHT NOW. IN THIS GORRAM NTERVIEW. PINKY PROMISE IT. OR WE’RE GETTING A DIVORCE.
AK– No I wanna go Pax South. hur hur hur
Both will be damn good times, no doubt about it, but still… WE’RE THROUGH, BUB.
…after the interview is done. :3 Continuing on with such, tell me a bit about how y’all choose artists for/curate your releases/compilations/etc?
AK– First off talent. Obviously. From here it depends on the project. Overall Alex and I have always been really pro-newguys, Pxl-Bot’s main aim was always to put really new people and debuts next to more established people (Monodeer, AndaruGO and HunterQuinn and probably countless others all released their debuts with us on Pxl-Bot!). For TWG they’ve got to have that experimental edge, that ‘TWG sound/style’, but also because the site doubles as a critical blog they’ve also got to be as close to perfect as possible, hence TWG’s roster is entirely hand-picked. And then with WeeklyTreats they’ve also got to be reliable, especially last year, as it’s one of those projects that can really fall apart if an artist we’re working with isn’t into it 100%. I consider myself really lucky to work with the people I have though, ESPECIALLY on TWG were I consistently get the chance to release music by people I respect immensely. Also, this year on WeeklyTreats and NTWRK I’ve been able to work with Sebastian Tomczak aka little-scale aka the guy that got me into chiptune, and it’s been an overwhelming honour to do so (not to mention the TOMES of other incredible talent we’ve put stuff out with this year or curators that have helped out with WeeklyTreats!)
Also sending pastries helps.
Hoodie– If sending pastries fails, send beer. #NeverFails
AK– Not that cherry shit doe. Who wants to drink bread-like cherry? Why?
Hoodie– -shrugs- MORE FOR ME.
Outside of your other ventures, what’s up with Andrew Kilpatrick: the chipmusician? Anything planned?
AK– Yes actually! Minus the two recent releases under my ‘spaceaser’ alias, ‘Tangelo‘ and Singular, I’m working on a third ‘colour’ EP for the aforementioned Betamod label! Beyond that: a few more comp tracks, planned split with Vegas Diamond, continuing WeeklyBeats (managed every week so far!), hopefully putting together a super trippy live set and also Alex Kelly and I have been talking about doing a collab project for years… so watch out for ‘yumikumi’ too! ^_^. Also another alias called ‘thrones’ which is apparently cursed is making a move…
Hoodie– hahhahhahha Real secret to your success: you just get bored too damn easily, right? ;) <3
AK– hahahahaha so unbelievably close to the truth. If I had an xbox or a nice guitar then WeeklyTreats probably wouldn’t have happened.
Hoodie– I’ve said it all before, but I’d feel remiss if I didn’t mention yet again how (last year) you were also both instrumental in helping me successfully reboot The ChipWIN Blog and contributed a good deal on the judges panel for Volume 2 (your “blunt fairness” definitely helped me open up and be a bit more… honest haha). Pxl-Win was a damn fun side-release too!
AK– Thanks, working with the blog was a lot of fun and an absolute ton of useful experience for me, and while I was soppy to have to leave to focus on other things I think it was for the best and the blog is still growing! Pxl-Win turned out surprisingly well I think! The Pxl-Win release sounded oddly like a compilation Alex and I would have put together anyway, and that plus the incredible mastering by S.P.R.Y made it not sound like a mixture of ‘rejects’ and ‘oddities’ And, to be honest, most of my favourite entries were on Pxl-Win, and it opened the door to work with some incredible artists too, I really enjoyed the experience and I think it went better than it could ever possibly have gone! As with the Vol 2 judging, yeah, I loved it, but it was such hard work. Part of me is sad I won’t be able to do it again this year, but then again, I know I’ll be using the effort to focus on less stressful things and my place is being filled by some INCREDIBLE talent, so, probably for the best for everyone. ;) (Also working for Brandon for another summer? EWW).
Hoodie – Ima gonna miss u 2, bby. :*
Any other thoughts, plots, shenanigans, dickbutts to mention before we wrap this up?
AK – Got a plethora of releases out on TWG soon including new stuff from barbeque and Love Through Cannibalism, Pxl-Bot is going to re-launch sometime in the nearish future and WeeklyTreats is gunna keep on trundlin’!
Thanks for having me you dick. butt.
Hoodie– Awesome. Looking forward to pretty much all that. Almost as much as I’m looking forward to being done talking to you (j/k ilu bby 5evar <3 ).
Weeeeelp, looks like it’s that time of the month again! Of course, I’m talking about some good ole beer & chiptune commentary with me, Prez Hoodie! =D
So turn up your speakers & grab your favorite drinking glass, and let’s get on with my seasonally appropriate December selections:
Dansk Mjød Viking Blod & Kubbi.
Yup. That’s right. This month I’m deviating from my normal selection of a beer type to review and instead featuring a Nordic honeywine (aka mead). All in honor of the Norwegian wonder Kubbi, of course (more on that cat further in).
In all truth, my quest began not for mead but for a bottle of akvavit/aquavit, a traditional flavored Scandinavian spirit often imbibed around the holiday season, which Kubbi recommended that I sample. Whilst I had no luck finding that imported drink in my region of Podunk, Arkansas, I did fortunately stumble upon a bottle of Dansk Mjød’s Viking Blod in the search. A more than worthy substitution to incorporate in this Skyrim-esqe pairing.
The front label describes Viking Blod as “Nordic honeywine with hibiscus and hops added”. If this seems like an interesting combination of ingredients, it’s because it is.
I’ve sampled a couple varieties of mead before, but never one with a gorram flower added to it! As one might expect, it adds a notable floral element to the already rather complex flavor. Combined with the hops and honeyed sweetness, it brings an almost ginger like aftertaste to the drink. It’s certainly… different, but undeniably quite nommy!
Seeing as how this is a fairly unique beverage, I for once followed all of the back label’s suggested methods of imbibing (which also includes an interesting, albeit brief historical account of mead!). Quaffing both on the rocks and in a slightly chilled glass served it well (with chilled glass being the superior method), although my #1 recommendation would be to drink it thoroughly heated. It turns Viking Blod into a delightful winter beverage akin to something like wassail, perfect for warming the insides as Jack Frost howls fiercely outside (or, in my case, maybe stirs up a chilly little breeze here and there…). I could also see it used to great affect in cooking, particularly a reduction with pork or a really tasty ham glaze. Heeeeeeeey Chiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiip Mooooooooooooooooom!! ;)
The internet is quite fond of Viking Blod as well! For instance, Ratebeer.com gives it a 92 overall score, accompanied by a multitude of favorable reviews. My summation would have to be something along the lines of, “YOU CAN TASTE THE FORESTS OF NORWAY IN EACH GORRAM SIP.” Yup, that’ll do. ;)
Kubbi sez, “Gi meg mjød!”
Moving onto the equally complex & delicious chipartist known to the internetz as Kubbi, we find just as delectable a sonic treat for the ears.
Quite the prolific artist, Kubbi has both a thorough & musically diverse discography spanning the past three years. While his initial forays in 2010 were primarily found on cm.o & the now defunct 8bc, the bulk of his releases can be found in the form of singles on Soundcloud and EPs and full length albums on Bandcamp. And just so you know, every single gorram track is worth indulging in.
To give a little background on his compositional methods, Kubbi uses the tracker inspired DAW Renoise to create his chipmusic, and employs a solid library of samples that he’s collected & tweaked over the years. His goto plug-ins include YMCK’s Magical 8bit Plug, Plogue Chipsounds & U-he Zebra, all of which he highly recommends. Although on his more recent releases he also incorporates the talented guitar-work of Jonas Dam (featured on ‘Gas Powered EP’ & ‘Something New’) & the beautiful vocals of Live-Andrea Rasch (on tracks “Concrete” & “Circuithead”), further fleshing out the already dynamic soundscapes found in his music.
It’s no secret: 2012 was definitely the most prolific year of Kubbi’s career thus far, during which he released three different full length albums (‘Transmittance‘, ‘Sleet‘, & ‘Circuithead‘). While all three merit a good solid listen/download/purchase, ‘Circuithead’ is probably the most standout among the three (note the “probably” snuck in there, as dammit, they’re all quite standout!). It’s the most cohesive release among them, sounding almost like a concept album of a sort. Although to be honest, there’s an overarching theme/feel of wistful melancholy and driven determination interwoven into most of his music. Maybe it’s natural by-product of drinking mead & practicing dragonshouts in the snowy mountains of Norway all the time, I don’t know. ;)
Regarding recent singles of note are his fantastic Renovation Mixes. They’re essentially re-instrumentations of some of his previous works, and really do breathe new light into the tracks. There are only three at the moment, but I have a feeling that’ll change in the coming months.
Kubbi’s latest single “Something New” does an excellent job of displaying the current state of his musical evolution & where he’s aiming for; it combines his signature chip stylings with an even more grand & ethereal, almost orchestral sound-set. Check it out right here:
To kick off 2014 with a MAGnificent bang, Kubbi is debuting his first live performance with both Jonas & Live at MAGFest 12. If you’d like to catch a very rare treat (and who wouldn’t?!?) make sure to get your ass to MAGFest & come down for the Saturday Midnight Chiptune Blowout! That alone is gonna be worth the trip to MAG this year!
Seriously, I could write endlessly about this exceedingly talented young chipartist. Everything he composes is simply extraordinary; each track takes you on a fantastic journey as you listen to & experienceit. All that and the fact that, well… HE’S DONE A LOTTA STUFFS!! :O All the same, whether you’re a fan of chipmusic or not, Kubbi has something to offer you.
And this finishes up yet another edition of my monthly beer & chip specials! Here’s hoping you’ve enjoyed the read, the delightful Kubbi-music referenced in it (a handful of his music embedded below!), and are fortunate enough to stumble across a chance to sample this very tasty beverage (maybe I’ll bring a flask to MAGFest 12 for this very purpose. Who knows? ;).